It’s here! 988 is officially available nationwide to call or text from anywhere in the country during a mental health crisis. You can learn more about what changes with 988 (and what doesn’t) here: nami.org/988
Our client, NAMI, has been fundamental in the creation of 988. We are so grateful for their continued advocacy for such important issues!
HB 293 (Del. Lewis Young)/SB 241 (Sen. Augustine) – Behavioral Health Crisis Response Services 9-8-8 Trust Fund
Mental health crises and suicides can be devastating for individuals, families, and communities. When someone experiences a mental health crisis and doesn’t receive the care they need, they can end up in emergency rooms, on the streets, involved in the criminal justice system, or in the worst case, they could lose their life. A ‘round the clock crisis hotline can be the first line of defense in preventing these tragedies and an essential part of any continuum of care for mental health crises. HB 293 designates 988 to be the phone number for Maryland’s suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis hotline and establishes a sustainable funding source to support existing behavioral health crisis call centers in Maryland.
This legislation was supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders. It passed and received supporting appropriations of $10 million to help launch the program. Sustainable funding will be the next hurdle to ensuring the success of 9-8-8 in future years.